Even if Sam Bradford starts at quarterback as expected on Monday, the Vikings will miss Dalvin Cook as they try to avoid tripping up at Soldier Field. They’ll keep the Bears’ tepid pass rush at bay and do enough to win. Prediction: Vikings 17, Bears 9.
Three big story lines
Avoiding a Soldier Field fiasco
The Vikings have lost nine of their past 10 games in Chicago, including a 20-10 loss last year that marked the beginning of Mike Zimmer’s eye issues, the end of Norv Turner’s tenure as offensive coordinator and the point when the season went off the rails.
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky will make his first start, as the No. 2 overall pick replaces Mike Glennon. The Vikings will look to pressure Trubisky while being mindful of the North Carolina product’s mobility.
Howard, Cohen a tall order
The Vikings are third in the league in run defense, but they’ll face a difficult pair of Bears backs in Jordan Howard and rookie Tarik Cohen, who’s posted 331 rushing and receiving yards in four games.
Two key matchups
Vikings wide receivers vs. Bears CB Kyle Fuller
The Bears cornerback has been targeted frequently through Chicago’s first four games, and either Keenum or Bradford could look to go after Fuller on Monday night with either Stefon Diggs or Adam Thielen lined up across from the corner.
Vikings DT Linval Joseph vs. Bears C Cody Whitehair
The Bears center had an impressive rookie season but has struggled so far this season. He’ll have plenty to handle in Joseph as the Vikings try to shut the Bears’ running game down.
One stat that matters
21.4 The percentage of their drives on which the Bears have turned the ball over this season, the highest rate in the league, according to Pro Football Reference.
The Vikings will win if…
They can shut down the running game and get Trubisky to make rookie mistakes.
The Bears will win if…
They sustain drives with runs, get big plays from Trubisky outside the pocket and take advantage of Vikings offensive uncertainty in the wake of Dalvin Cook’s torn ACL.
Goessling’s win probability